We just made our final Rent-a-Center payment a week ago – and we will never buy anything from them again. Not only does the company essentially have you pay 3x the retail amount of whatever you’re buying, but it also doesn’t help your credit and it is just a bad investment all around. Here’s why you should never buy anything from Rent-a-Center – plus, a few Rent-a-Center alternatives to consider.
Why You Should Never Buy From Rent-a-Center
Don’t just take my word for it. There are plenty of reasons you shouldn’t buy anything from Rent-a-Center.
- It winds up being way more expensive. The retail price for a 65″ LED TV sits right around $600. Buying one through Rent-a-Center can cost you up to $3,500.
- Rent-a-Center doesn’t report your payments. Unless you stop paying them, Rent-a-Center doesn’t report a single payment you make. The only time you’ll see them on your credit report is if you default on your account and it ends up in collections.
- The payments are a burden. Rent-a-Center makes their payments seem extremely affordable. After all, it’s “only $45 per week.” While that seems like very little, after a year and a half of payments, it will become a burden to pay them.
- They will come to take your items. Even if you’ve technically paid the retail value of the television, sofa, or appliance, Rent-a-Center will come to take your items if you miss payments. What’s worse is they’ll send someone directly to your door at dinner time to do it.
- Rent-a-Center has been proven to overcharge. In late 2017, there were a number of articles released uncovering Rent-a-Center for its overcharging of its customers. They make it seem reasonable by showing you (the consumer) the weekly price of, say, $10. However, you still wind up being grossly overcharged.
That doesn’t necessarily mean all rent-to-own opportunities suck. However, if you need to buy something on credit you don’t have, consider the following alternatives.
When it comes to finding an alternative for Rent-a-Center, there are five options you should consider before opting for rent-to-own.
- Save the money. Delayed gratification doesn’t get enough love. If you just save the money for a couple months, you can have the cash you need for the new TV, sofa, or appliance. No interest, no strings attached, and the item is yours.
- Wait for a sale. Next, instead of paying the full retail price for whatever item you are in search of, consider waiting for a sale. Many people wait until around the holidays or the new year to purchase bigger ticket items. This gives you more time to save as well.
- Buy a refurbished item. You don’t necessarily need something brand new to get the job done. If you need a new computer NOW but don’t have new computer money, consider hitting up the refurbished electronics shop.
- Check out secondhand stores. You can find a large selection of furniture items, appliances, and clothing at reasonable prices at secondhand stores. For instance, if you’re in need of a new coffee table, you may be able to find a decent one you can refinish for about $40 at a Habitat for Humanity or another similar secondhand store.
- Work on your credit score and revisit. If you must purchase something in a rent-to-own fashion, consider working on your credit and revisiting your options in a few months. There are other rent-to-own opportunities through financing at furniture companies that will still charge interest but won’t nail you like Rent-a-Center does. They simply require higher credit scores.
Even if you haven’t had a terrible experience with rent-to-own as I have, it is safe to say these companies are usually bad for your finances. Consider these Rent-a-Center alternatives before making a huge commitment.
Readers, have you had an experience with rent-to-own you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!
Photo: Mike Mozart